What Does Cervical Funneling Mean?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I'm 27 weeks pregnant. I went to the hospital with severe pain in my hips, lower back, and abdomen. They did an exam and told me I was having mild contractions and the my cervix had started funneling.

My question is what does cervix funneling mean and what does it mean when they say that it measures 3.2 milmeters?

ANSWER

I'm wondering if you mean 3.2 centimeters, as cervical length is rarely reported in millimeters. Assuming it is centimeters, it means that your cervix is normal length, but may have a "dimple" at the external opening. As long as the internal opening stays closed, we don't really worry.

However, if you let them keep poking the dimple, they may eventually get to the internal opening and irritate it, which would not be good. Most of this can be followed with an ultrasound and doesn't require an internal exam.

But based on what you are saying, so far everything is ok (especially if you have had a child before). But it would be best to avoid having "mild contractions;" so drink plenty of water, eat high-quality food, and relax whenever possible.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.